Maersk ships on east coast face major delays. Maersk vessels are affected by delays of up to three weeks as a result of bottlenecks at major container ports on the US east coast. According to Maersk, the delays are a result of a combination of congestion, many ships, and a lack of container space.
New Jersey plans for offshore wind ports to boost state’s economy. New Jersey plans to use the development of the offshore wind industry off the U.S. East Coast to bring in new jobs, economic impact, and clean energy. The state has more than $1 billion of public and private investment to back up the project. This new industry will bring in an estimated $109 billion worth of investment over the next decade, and officials in New Jersey want to ensure the state leverages its ports, its infrastructure and its skilled workforce to claim its share, according to Maritime Executive.
Port of Oakland reducing free wait time for import containers. Beginning July 1, the Port of Oakland is reducing the tariff-free time from seven days to four days to reduce congestion on its marine terminal, and may raise penalties for containers that sit for too long, CNBC reports. “We think the (demurrage) rates need to be higher to encourage cargo owners to move their cargo faster,” said Danny Wan, executive director for the Port of Oakland. The port is experiencing the longest dwelling times for import containers. “The average dwell in Oakland terminal is now 9-12 days,” Wan said. “It used to be 3-4 days. The 9-12 days incorporates rail dwell time because all rail cargo needs to be moved off the terminal to a near-dock rail facility.”
Modernization of the Customs Broker Regulations 19 CFR 111 Update. From the NCBFAA Monday Morning eBriefing: The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) for the long-awaited update to 19 CFR 111 are in the works toward finalization. Specifically, the NPRM for the Modernization of the Customs Broker Regulations (85 FR 34836) and the NPRM for the Elimination of the Customs Broker District Permit Fee (85 FR 34549) were published on June 5, 2020. The comment period for both NPRMs ended August 4, 2020. CBP provides this webpage, as well as this fact sheet, to keep the customs broker industry informed on the status of the NPRMS.
California’s Independent Contractor Law ignored by Supreme Court. The injunction that bars California’s AB5 independent contractor law from being implemented in the state’s trucking sector will remain in place for the foreseeable future as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s silence on the issue. The California Trucking Association v. Bonta, the organization’s lawsuit against the state over AB5, was nowhere to be found on the list of “orders,” on Monday, the cases that the Supreme Court mostly denies certiorari of lower court appeals but accepts a small fraction. FreightWaves reports that attorneys in the trucking industry were expecting some sort of resolution Monday, given that the case was on the agenda for a court conference last Thursday.
BNSF implementing temporary embargo on some California-bound shipments. According to a service advisory, BNSF is planning a temporary embargo of westbound automotive shipments and specific agricultural and industrial commodities to address congestion in Southern California. FreightWaves reports that the embargo will expire July 31 and doesn’t include intermodal shipments because they are managed using an alternate system, BNSF said. Read more about details of the embargo here.
Port bottlenecks extending to rail networks. Port bottlenecks are spreading from ocean freight to rail networks, raising costs and adding new shipping complications for importers trying to manage the flow of goods. The Wall Street Journal reports that retailers are waiting weeks to move cargo by train out of Southern California’s ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Some retailers have given up on the railroads and are turning to trucks for shipments of furniture, apparel and other consumer goods.
Amtrak train derailed in Missouri. On Monday, eight Amtrak cars and two locomotives were impacted by the derailment of a passenger train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago “after striking a truck that was obstructing a public crossing.” There were reportedly 275 passengers and 12 crew members on board at the time. Three train passengers and the driver of the truck that struck the train are confirmed dead, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. 150 people were taken from the scene to 10 area hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to serious.
Flight cancellations continue to surge. Flight-tracking website FlightAware reported over 800 flights canceled on Monday afternoon, following a chaotic travel weekend with more than 1,500 domestic flights canceled Saturday and Sunday. Delta canceled at least 224 flights on Monday, while United canceled 128 flights and American Airlines canceled 67. Airlines now have fewer employees than before the pandemic after offering buyouts and early retirement packages to trim staff and save money, despite receiving $54 billion in federal assistance during Covid’s peak to avoid involuntary layoffs. As a result, operations can quickly fall apart when there’s bad weather, understaffed air traffic control centers or sick staff, CNN reports.
Millions awarded to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport for air cargo facility. $7.9m will be awarded to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to help build a new air cargo facility that is expected to support the e-commerce boom, according to AirCargoNews. This funding award will go towards finishing the construction of a 31,000 sq/m cargo facility apron that will include the aircraft apron, taxiway connectors, utility relocation and an access road. The funding is provided by a congressional directed spending request that US Senator Jeanne Shaheen secured through the FY2022 omnibus federal spending bill.
Severe staff shortages plague air freight and travel industries. The cargo handling industry lost thousands of workers during the pandemic resulting in a severe shortage of skilled ground handlers to move goods, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA Niall van de Wouw, chief air freight officer at Xeneta, highlights the shortage as a key problem: “There is enough capacity in the air but there’s not the capacity on the ground,” he says. “Whether it’s truck drivers, or people loading ships or planes, or people in warehousing, there seems to be a global issue of finding operational people at the lower end of the pay-scale.”
Delta pilots to protest flight cancellations. Hundreds of off-duty Delta Air Lines pilots are demanding a pay increase and that the carrier change their schedules to reduce flight disruptions, and plan to picket this week. In a statement on Monday, the Air Line Pilots Association said that its nearly 14,000 members are working longer hours even as the airlines cancel thousands of flights, angering customers. The union says that pay hasn’t changed since 2016, even though pilots played a major role in helping Delta recoup its financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic. The labor group is also asking for improvements in retirement benefits and job protections.
Underground freight tunnel network to begin construction in Switzerland. A project to build an underground freight tunnel network stretching from Geneva to St Gallen will commence work on August 1. The Cargo sous terrain (CST) project will connect Switzerland’s key hubs starting in 2031. The goal of the CST is to reduce the environmental impact of transport, take the strain off the road and railway networks, and improve the delivery of goods across the country. The project consists of a three lane underground tunnel network with automated, driverless electric transport vehicles traveling at 30km an hour operating 24 hours a day. There will also be a rapid overhead roof track for smaller package deliveries.
Tesla begins laying off staff and rescinding job offers. Business Insider reports that “Tesla workers who started their jobs only months or even weeks ago have been let go, while others have had offers withdrawn as the company begins to impose cuts announced by Elon Musk in early June.” Elon Musk told Tesla executives to pause all hiring at the beginning of June because he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and needed to cut 10% of the company’s workforce. He later tweeted that the head count would increase, but the number of salaried staff would not rise. Two former employees are reportedly suing the company, saying the electric-car maker “violated federal law by laying off hundreds of employees on short notice.”